Buying books — on a budget

By Lena Grout
Flapjack Chronicle

Photo illustration

At Humboldt State University, undergraduate students spend an average of $1544 on textbooks and supplies – most students dodge this immense investment by knowing just where to shop. Cheaper books often result in poor quality, but HSU students have been known to find used books in good condition at the HSU Bookstore located in the University Center on campus. Other students looking to save their precious funds, take a risk and broaden their search online for inexpensive textbooks.

Kayla Eddis, 19, has experienced three semesters of purchasing textbooks for her Liberal Studies and Elementary Education major.

“I always get my books at the Bookstore on campus,” Eddis said, “Even though they’re cheaper online.”

The reliable Bookstore provides an easy way for students to find exactly what textbooks are required for each class in an organized manner. Each required text is found under the course number and professor’s name with a reasonable price.

Eddis, like many other students, waits until the week after classes have already begun to go collect her textbooks. She said she trusts that the HSU Bookstore will always have the books she needs. To Eddis’s hopes, the Bookstore provides useful each semester.

On buying textbooks at the Bookstore, Eddis mentioned, “It just depends on your means of funds – if you have a bank account and can order your textbooks online: do it. It’s so much cheaper.”

Amazon Student user and economics major, Jasmine Corral, 17, agrees.

“Even since high school I bought all and any books on Amazon,” Corral said.

Corral has found that shopping for textbooks on Amazon helped her save large amounts of money. Although Corral has suffered some of the consequences of purchasing books online, she feels that highlighted pages and doodles are only small downsides to the process.

“Even though I’ve gotten books with odd notes and coffee stains on the pages,” Corral said, “I still had the book – I just learned to ignore the distractons.”

As soon as Corral began attending Humboldt State, she upgraded her Amazon account to an Amazon Student account. This upgrade allows her to have free two-day shipping on any item as well as a 50% discount on any item labeled with the Amazon Prime logo.

Coral said, “Getting Amazon Student was the best decision I have ever made.”

Professor Valérie Budig-Markin is not only a professor on campus, but an author of a textbook used in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Budig-Markin coauthored a textbook called Diversité: La Nouvelle Francophone: An Intermediate Reader and Francophone Anthology with author James Gaasch that is used in HSU’s French III/IV programs. The book has gained value since its publishing as more programs in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean have begun using it.

When asked where she recommended students to buy their textbooks for her French courses, Budig-Markin said, “Our situation is different because they’re foreign language textbooks so it’s a little more complicated getting books in general.”

Budig-Markin highly supports her students buying their textbooks from the HSU Bookstore, but understands that ordering them online is a less expensive option.

When brought to her attention that many of her students were purchasing her course’s required texts for more than $200, Budig-Markin was surprised.

“[The publisher is] taking advantage of a captive audience,” she said, “It’s not as cheap as it could be.”

Committing to the immense price of high quality textbooks is a financially straining process but can be solved by shopping in the right places. The HSU Bookstore helps students find reliable and clean texts for somewhat reasonable prices. Shopping online can be risky but has a reputation for being a lot less stressful on the students’ lack of funds.


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